School & Community Programs

The Balsam Mountain Trust is proud to offer low-cost, NC standard-based programming to local educational institutions. Trust programs offer an up-close and very personal encounter with some of this region’s most important, curious and amazing inhabitants. Students will learn about the rich biodiversity that makes western North Carolina so special. Forging this connection to the regions’ animals will help foster understanding, which will then lead to the future stewardship to protect these most important natural resources.

You and your students will never forget this wild, hands-on learning experience!

Balsam Mountain Trust delivers programming to groups of all sizes and ages including schools, camps, libraries and more! The Trust offers both outreach programming at your facility as well as field trips to Balsam Mountain Preserve. Programs may be booked throughout the year with the following:

April 1 – October 31: Monday – Wednesday
November 1 – March 31: Monday – Saturday

Virtual Outreach Programs

Balsam Mountain Trust OUTREACH presentations generally include  3-5 live animals and last between 45 minutes – 1 hour, depending on the program you choose. Virtual programs are accessible via a viewing link. 

Pre-recorded Virtual Programs

Individual Class/Library
Link access for 1 week 
Library System
Link access for 1 month

Live Virtual School Programs

By request, limited availability 


In-Person Outreach Programs

Balsam Mountain Trust OUTREACH presentations generally include  3-5 live animals and last between 45 minutes – 1 hour, depending on the program you choose. A 25% discount is available if you book 2 or more consecutive programs.

Please click here to review our updated Covid-19 safety protocols. 

Schools, Camps & Scouts

Classroom Style
$100/program ($125 for Birds of Prey)
Limit 35 students
Assembly Style
$200/program ($250 for Birds of Prey)
Limit 150 students


Tabling & Tent Events
$150/hr ($250/hr for Birds of Prey)
No limit on attendees

Libraries & Community Groups

All Ages
$150/program ($250 for Birds of Prey)
No limit on attendees

*Mileage Fee: Standard IRS mileage rate of $0.56/mi will be charged for travel in excess of 25 miles from the Balsam Mountain Trust Nature Center.

Animal Nursery Rhymes (Grades: Pre-K – 1)
Students sing along to nursery rhymes about our animals (turtle, snake, opossum, and bird), then get to meet and learn more about them. Songs, movement, finger-play, and rhymes are guaranteed to engage and entertain your little ones.

Fur, Feathers and Scales (Grades: 2-12; others by arrangement)
Learn about the different classifications of animals by meeting some real-life examples! During this interactive lesson, we will explore Amphibians, Fish, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals. This program can be tailored to different ages to cover NC standard topics such as body coverings, structural anatomy, biodiversity, adaptations and evolution, and human/environment interactions.

Hunters from the Sky – Those Amazing Raptors (K-12; others by arrangement)
Seeing these masters of the sky up close and personal is a lesson that won’t soon be forgotten. Witness and learn about the incredible adaptations of this bird group. Live program animals may include hawks, falcons, owls and an eagle. Free-flying a bird in the presentation can be arranged.

Animal Olympics (Library – all ages)
Test your skills against animal athletes! Can you see as well as a kestrel? Can you hop as far as a frog? This interactive program challenges kids to compete against animal champions and learn about various wild adaptations.

Field Trips

Field trips to the Balsam Mountain Trust can be scheduled to last 1-2 hours. The Trust Nature Center has restrooms and a picnic area for your use. We require a signed safety release waiver form for all participants.

Field Trips

Schools, Camps & Scouts

Limit 35 students

Contact us for more details

Aquatic Ecology: The Wonder of Water (Grades: 3 – 12), 2 hours
Get ready to get muddy! Join in on the exploration and identification of residents of the aquatic world. The water on the Preserve is considered some of the cleanest around. Learn: what it takes to keep it that way; what clean water provides for the residents of the streams on the Preserve; how this most important of our natural resources provides for an amazing diversity of life, and finally – how to identify clean water by the critters that live in it.

Nature Hike (Grades: 3 – 12), 1-2 hours
Stomp through our streams, hike through our forests, and find where different organisms make their homes (and their livings). Guided by one of our naturalists, you will be greeted almost immediately by a waterfall, and then meander down a lush, forest trail. This hike can be tailored to meet the learning goals, physical abilities, etc., of your group.

Don’t see a program that fits your needs? Educators are invited to have the Trust develop programming around specific topic areas and/or to utilize the Preserve as a living laboratory.